Automotive Transmission Fluid: The Different Types, and Why It’s Important.
Transmission fluid lubricates and cools the transmission. The fluid also cleans and protects the metal surfaces within the transmission from wear. The fluid also conditions the gaskets and seals to keep them working well. If you have an automatic transmission, transmission fluid also helps provide hydraulic pressure, which helps the transmission change gears.
Manual vs Automatic
In 2000, more than 15% of new and used cars sold by the auto retailer CarMax had manual transmissions; by 2020, it had dropped to 2.4%. For a long time, manual transmissions were superior but as automatic transmission technology continues to improve, fewer drivers seem to be seeking out manuals.
Torque converters are the oldest form of automatic transmission. They use hydraulics to change gear, which gives you a smooth shift. They’re not the most fuel-efficient of automatics though they’re much better than they used to be, in part because carmakers have added extra gears to improve efficiency.
Continuously Variable Transmission
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) had remained a relatively rare feature until Subaru popularized it in the 1980s. The CVT transmission does not have individual gears but does have one gear that is variable for all driving conditions. It uses a belt-and-pulley system to transfer engine power to the vehicle’s wheels, allowing for an infinite gradient of ratios.
If you want a manual transmission without needing a clutch pedal, a dual-clutch transmission (DCT), is the best middle point. While most automatic transmissions rely on either a torque converter or, if it’s a CVT, a system of pulleys, the dual-clutch transmission uses clutch plates, like a manual transmission.
A synchromesh transmission is a manual transmission in which all forward gear wheels are held in mesh at all times. Used on most North American vehicles with a manual transmission, it allows the driver to shift gears smoothly and makes the car run more quietly.
What Type of Transmission Fluid Should You Use
The type of transmission fluid you should use depends upon the make, model, and year of your vehicle. Transmission fluid keeps the metal parts inside the gearbox from wearing down, keeps certain parts of the transmission cool, and lets your vehicle shift easily while protecting the parts that rub together. The proper fluid must be used, or damage and/or driveability concerns could be experienced.
KLONDIKE Transmission Fluid
KLONDIKE transmission fluids are formulated for use in a full range of automatic and manual transmissions and provide premium shifting characteristics.
Automatic Transmission Fluids
ATF MD3 – designed for use in most pre-2006 automatic transmissions built by General Motors, Ford Motor Company and other makes requiring a high-performance, transmission fluid.
ATF Universal Full Synthetic – fluid designed for use in automatic transmissions manufactured by North American, European, Asian, and other manufactures around the world.
ULV Full Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid – for use in automatic transmissions manufactured by North American, European, Asian, and other manufactures around the world using 9 and 10 speed high performance transmission designs.
DEXRON®-VI / MERCON® LV Full Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid – low viscosity automatic transmission fluid designed for use in vehicles manufactured by General Motors and Ford where DEXRON®-VI and/or MERCON® LV fluids are specified.
Dual Clutch Full Synthetic – a truly universal DCT fluid ideal for global application.
Continuously Variable Transmission
CVT Full Synthetic – designed for belt and chain driven Continuously Variable Transmissions.
Manual Transmission Fluids
75W-80 Synchromesh Manual Full Synthetic – for certain manual transmissions, transfer cases, and gear boxes requiring specialized fluid meeting OEM specifications and the technical requirements of API GL-4.
Use our LUBE-LINK tool to find the right transmission fluid for your vehicle and ensure you purchase top-quality fluids. Always follow OEM recommendations. KLONDIKE takes no responsibility for product misuse or misapplication. It is also recommended that any vehicle servicing be done by a qualified automotive technician.